Here we take an in-depth look at David Gandy’s custom Jaguar 1954 XK120
You must really know you’ve hit the big time when one of the world’s best-loved carmakers agrees to build you a sports car built to your exact specifications.
It’s something most of us can only dream of, but this exact scenario is now a reality for British-born male supermodel David Gandy.
The face of Dolce & Gabbana fragrance and sometime underwear model for Marks and Spencer is known for his enthusiasm for automobiles – he is an official reviewer for British GQ and Mayfair Times and received his racing licence in 2012.
However, after he competed in the Mille Miglia trial in Italy twice as part of Team Jaguar, his love for the iconic brand was cemented and he commissioned them to design something of his very own.
Now, that 11-month project has come to fruition after Jaguar Classic completed a bespoke XK120 sports car restoration. Let’s take a closer look at exactly what it all involved.
Experts at Jaguar’s Classic Works facility in Warwickshire were tasked with ensuring Gandy’s car would be race-ready to participate in classic motorsport events such as the Jaguar Classic Challenge.
He also wanted it to be inspired by the original XK120 Lightweight, as this is the vehicle he drove and loved at Mille Miglia. Consequently, the team managed to track down a suitable 1954 base car in California and had it shipped over to transform it into Gandy’s dream car.
Under the bonnet and performance
The project saw the team meticulously rebuilding the in-line six-cylinder engine unit to upgrade it from its original 180hp to 225hp and ensure it enhanced durability at high speeds.
To prevent the core plugs dislodging during high-performance driving, steel bracing was added for maximum performance.
In addition, the exhaust system was upgraded from the usual single pipe to dual pipes – which presumably adds to that classic sound – and a faster-shifting racing-style gearbox was fitted to perform better when highly stressed.
Braking won’t be a problem along that infamous Italian track should Gandy compete again either, as the front set-up now features disc brakes with four-pot calipers.
Stunning good looks
On the outside of this bespoke vehicle, the attention to detail has also been incredible. Gandy chose a classic black and the team applied four coats to ensure supreme depth of colour.
There are further details like a racing-inspired flip-top fuel cap and twin aero screens too, again to pay homage to the XK120 Lightweight the owner is so fond of.
For the interior, aged saddle tan leather was selected and the seats feature a lattice design finished off with aluminium as opposed to the typical fabric.
Since Gandy is more than 6ft tall, the Jaguar team allowed for enhanced comfort by removing the two batteries that would normally sit behind the driver’s seat and replacing them with a single one behind the passenger seat.
A smaller-than-usual steering wheel also accounts for the extra legroom necessary when you’re a top male model.
Handover and reaction
All this attention to detail means it was no wonder the project took a whopping 2,700 hours to complete – but Gandy’s reaction suggests it was well worth the effort.
“The team at Jaguar Classic have done such a remarkable job engineering this car and executing everything that I asked for and it was amazing to have such an in-depth involvement in its creation,” he enthused, adding that he intends to drive it both on-road and in competitions.
Head of Jaguar Classic Calum McKechnie said both the detailing and the bespoke design of the interior really set the car apart.
The end result is so stunning that no one is going to know whether it’s the Jag or the man behind the wheel that turns heads as they cruise down the street together.
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